Fez's Daily Debate: Should (more) museums and galleries be free?Watch
Back in UK politics today (because I figured this is fundamentally still a politics question as much as it's a history/art one) with this Daily Debate question:
Should (more) museums and galleries be free?
Currently certain museums and galleries, mostly those in London and to some extent in other large cities, and a few of great national importance outside. In smaller towns and cities, you're more likely to have to pay. There are two ways to take this: first, is it right that museums and galleries are given state subsidy to open free of charge, and should this be extended to more museums?
On the one hand I would rather the government didn't pay for what could be seen as wasted expense if nobody attends a museum or exhibition.
On the other I'm not sure it's fair that those who can't afford to do this are deprived of the opportunity if a museum is paid for. Especially young children and families.
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I wonder what the cause and effect here is, really. If we had lots of good, free museums in our regional cities and towns, maybe people would be more likely to visit them as tourists, both domestically and even from abroad? (I honestly don't know – Liverpool has a really good set of free museums but I don't know if it gets much tourism off the back of them.)
I think that if the museums are free or at low cost, it boosts the number of things that people can go and see in a place and makes it a more attractive place for visitors.
But local history museums should ideally be free, I've been to some that aren’t and I don’t think you get much more, if anything, for your money. I agree with comments that the free museums are very london centric and it would be nice to see more free museums in hubs around the county. To be fair, that is mostly the case already. I think that Bristol’s museum is especially nice given that it’s free.